Australian influenza deaths falls dramatically during Covid-19 pandemic

Insight Online News

Canberra, Nov 4 : Influenza infections and deaths in Australia have fallen significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) there have been 584 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza and two deaths in Australia in 2021.

By comparison, there were 21,266 cases in 2020 and 313,033 cases and 953 deaths prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2019.

Jennifer Lang, chair of professional body the Actuaries Institute’s Covid-19 working group, said coronavirus public health measures were likely responsible for the drop in influenza cases.

Approximately 13 million people, half of the Australian population, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New South Wales and Victoria spent much of the influenza season in lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“It’s the fact that we’ve taken steps to avoid infection from Covid, which has helped us to avoid being affected by a whole lot of other respiratory diseases,” Lang was quoted by Guardian Australia on Thursday.

“It’s been all of the different measures that people are taking to avoid mixing which has reduced the level of flu in circulation worldwide. A lot of health professionals are watching carefully to see what happens as people start mixing again.”

There were 1,276 deaths from all respiratory diseases including Covid-19 in Australia in July compared to 1,600 predicted by the Actuaries Institute if the pandemic had not occurred.

On Thursday morning, Australia reported more than 1,500 new locally-acquired coronavirus cases and 13 deaths as the country continues to battle the third wave of Covid-19 infections.

The majority of new cases were in Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, where 1,247 cases and nine deaths were reported.

As of Wednesday, 88.7 percent of Australians aged 16 and older have received one Covid-19 vaccine dose and 78.5 percent were fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.


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